Q: The renewal details of the policy for my veteran horse state that cover is for accident rather than for illness. Is there anyone who will insure a horse more than 17 years old for illness, too?

Simon Mackaness, director of insurance brokers BEIB, replies: It is not unreasonable for cover for a veteran horse to be restricted to accident alone.

Unfortunately, insurers have to look at the general proportion of insured veteran horses for reference, and it has been found that, in general terms, there are more problems associated with their health. This in turn means charging much higher rates, because expensive veterinary examinations may be involved.

It is fully accepted that some owners are able to keep their horses very healthy well into their 20s and beyond, but it is difficult for insurers to assess each risk individually.

Where a client is prepared to pay a higher premium, some specialist insurers may consider this as an option. However, it would require a detailed veterinary examination and possibly X-rays for the feet. It isgenerally only worth considering this type of insurance if you have a very valuable horse.

HHO note: Some insurance companies are now offering emergency colic surgery cover for older horses as part of a veteran-only insurance package.

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